• Closed • [Krom] The Closest Hurt the Most

Aelius and Ciarán venture to Fort Krom in order to pursue a former friend. [ft. Ciarán]

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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Aelius Callistus
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[Krom] The Closest Hurt the Most

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49th of Ashan, 716
Mid-Morning
Fort Krom, Rynmere
Aelius was finding a soft spot for Krom in his heart. He had only been in the northern city of Rynmere for two days, but the eight-day trek from Andaris to Krom allowed the place to enchant the half-breed man. Though it wasn’t as cold, he tried to compare the northern region to his home, Viden, and its frigidness year-round. Though Krom paled in comparison, Aelius was enchanted nonetheless. Aiding in the young man’s falling in love with the place were the residents and how trustworthy they seemed. Aside from that, they were an intriguing collection of people, and he had lost count of how many times he had been offered ale and a friendly night in the inn’s lower floor.

Aelius was in Krom on business for the Seekers with one of his allies and closer friends, Ciarán, and Flavia, his caracal companion. Both of the aforementioned had been with him for a good chunk of time - two or more years - and he had begun to hold them dearly in terms of relation. What brought them together was their seeming sense of being lost and unwanted in a cruel, cold world. Aelius found comfort in the fact that he wasn’t the only to be persecuted by stereotypes and discriminations, Ciarán had felt it as well.

Ciarán was an Aukari, a race of people with bizarre combustion capabilities. She was shunned by society because of it, yet her history meant she was more alone in the world than Aelius. He believed she found solace in him because of their closeness and years together, both being the same age and being Acolytes of the Seekers, both on their rite of passage to become Sorcerers before their time was up.

Aelius’ time was nearly up. He was on his last year to prove himself, but his powers felt as if they were stagnating at a frustrating pace. The half-breed was at his frayed end, and Ciarán knew it. The jobs he was taking were growing increasingly difficult, both physically and mentally, and now emotionally as well. Ciarán supported him in the endeavor even though she knew who they were pursuing this time. Pene Bout was a close friend to both Ciarán and Aelius, but she had begun to shun the Seekers, attempting to escape and break free of the rules set for her to abide by. The Seekers couldn’t have it, and thusly Pene had be apprehended, her conduit confiscated or destroyed, and her membership revoked. Aelius and Ciarán were to be the executors of the order in spite of their close ties. At this point, Aelius began to believe it was the reason for the job being broached to him and Ciarán anyway; so they could overcome emotional attachment for the sake of their path.

Pene was an interesting young woman. She was a normal human but she was eccentric and what people liked to call ‘off her rocker’. She had a problem with authority, a trait Aelius had observed first hand when she caused a commotion against her mentor. It was the day of her departure, and she snuck away in the night to not be heard from again. The alarms were raised and the investigators were sent out to find where she went. Pene was discovered to be in the northern region of Rynmere, and Aelius was approached by her old mentor to seize her conduit and deliver the news of her being stripped of all Seeker titles and permissions. The Sorcerer knew Aelius was nigh desperate for a change, for a challenge that would force him to grow, and the opportunity presented itself. Naturally, Aelius accepted, enlisting the aid of Ciarán as suggested by the Sorcerer.

It was an eight day walk on foot from Andaris in the south to Krom in the north, and once they had arrived the pair rented rooms within one of the inns for the foreseeable future until word of Pene reached them. When it did, they began to mobilize. Pene was south of Fort Krom, hiding away in a small farming community.

Aelius and Ciarán were already enroute, walking on the edge of the road to avoid the wagon traffic coming in from the south. He looked to his fire-haired friend, his ethereally white eyes glossing over her shorter frame. For a woman she was tall, but for a half-Eìdisi, he was taller still. The cloak he wore wafted around behind him with each step he took, striding towards the community that was within sight now. Just under his cloak clinked the disk which acted as his conduit. It was idle and so was he, but he knew he would soon be drawing upon mana; Pene wouldn’t come quietly.

“How’re you holding up?” Aelius asked her, his milky eyes looking forward again. “Do you think she’ll surrender?”

Aelius felt his question was foolish in asking, but they had been walking silently for a several breaks now and the silence was eating at him. He knew heavy thoughts were on Ciarán’s mind, as they were on his as well, but this was a job that needed to be done for both of them to grow and succeed past a clear hesitation. It wouldn’t be easy, he knew, yet it was necessary all the same.
Special thanks to Ciaran
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Ciarán
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[Krom] The Closest Hurt the Most

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Ciaran often felt alone in this world. Her people were despised and shunned and she wielded powers that no ordinary man or woman would understand. Perhaps that was why Jaedus had taken her in. An Aukari child unable to reign in her Fire Within would have likely lasted only weeks before she had been slain. In a way, Jaedus had saved her from death, and for that, she would forever be in his debt. But life after that had not been easy. Not only did she need to hide what she was by covering or dying her hair and avoiding being touched or cut, she also needed to conceal the fact she was a mage. It hadn't bothered the girl, at first, but often times, when she passed by families, something in her gut churned, as though it was an unconscious yearning.

Each time Ciaran shook her head and stared ahead, her gaze narrowed. She walked beside Aelius, slightly quicker, due to his greater height, with her hood worn up so as to avoid passing stares. There'd been no time to dye her hair a different color, so the cloak would have to do for now.

"I'm doing fine," the Aukari told him, her voice tight. There were very few people that Ciaran ever confided in, and Aelius was one of them, though there were still times when she clammed up, and those were times when her friend would realize she was fighting her inner fire. It was critical at this point, considering she had no Frostbite on her person. "I just..." She exhaled, leather boots kicking up pebbles as she walked. "I'm... upset," She continued, avoiding the word angry, as though it was an omen. "Upset by her stupidity, her endangerment of others. Everything that she was given she squandered away."

The wind picked up a bit and howled through the trees, sending a flurry of leaves flying. Ciaran held onto her hood as her cloak flapped around her. The wagons teetered on, the voices of travelers drowning in the breeze. "I don't know if she'll surrender, but I hope, for her sake, that she will." There was a hardness to her tone that held promises. Ciaran was not a rash individual but she had always been thorough. Oftentimes, she was unafraid, not exactly brutal, but merciless. There were times when she still saw herself as nothing more than a tool to be used.

The further they walked, the trees parted, revealing a swath of farmland ahead of them. "Is there where she is?" She glanced up at Aelius. "Of all places to hide, a farm?" What are you doing, Pene? Her thoughts were full to the brim with questions, but she doubted their friend was going to give them any answers.
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Aelius Callistus
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[Krom] The Closest Hurt the Most

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Ciarán said she was fine but Aelius let the question hang in the air, the silence being the pressure emitted onto his Aukari partner. Sure enough, with time, Ciarán broke the silence and further divulged what she was feeling. Aelius listened, as he always did, to what was on her mind. He nodded, though she couldn’t see, and agreed that he was upset as well. Pene had done something egregious and now Aelius and Ciarán had to clean up the mess, a mess they never expected to happen due to their friend.

Aelius, too, hoped Pene would surrender. It would be hard on him to fight her, to end her path, a path the three of them had set out on together in hopes of becoming something greater than they originally were. In his times of self-doubt both Ciarán and Pene had been there for him, now they were going to basically tell Pene that their friendship was over. This, he knew, would drive an irreparable rift between them and Pene, but it was unavoidable at this point; too much was at stake in both Aelius and Ciarán’s future for them to show mercy to Pene. He could tell Ciarán didn’t have it in her to show mercy at all, it was in the austerity of her voice.

A quiet overtook them as Aelius silently agreed with his friend and aligned himself to be ready to face the coming task. The trees began to part and the road was beginning to be flanked on either side by farmland and prairie. In the distance was a farm, the fields starting to teem with the life of a new crop. Ciarán piped up at his side, breaking the silence, as she pointed out the incredulousness of Pene’s supposed hideaway. He met the Aukari’s amber gaze with his own, milky white and ghostly.

“That’s what our lead says,” he told her in unwavering confidence. Looking front again, Aelius considered why Pene would choose such a place to hold up in.

The Seekers’ headquarters was south in Andaris, yet Pene chose to flee north instead of across the sea leading to the mainland continent just east of the capital city. Perhaps Pene planned to return or perhaps the Seekers had already been on her tail long enough she presumed they were watching the dockyards. It was a possibility; the Seekers were elusive and seemingly omnipresent and, the day of her outburst, the Sorcerers were on high alert.

Getting closer still, the main road split off into the intended direction, a small dirt trailway leading them deeper into the acres of the farm’s property. In the far distance he could see a cottage but nearer still was an abandoned building, one he only assumed to be the previous cottage before a new one was built, or a shed. He couldn’t tell for sure. All he knew was it looked as if it was older than both him and Ciarán put together.

“There,” he said, pointing to the antique building.

Aelius’ walk turned into a slow jog, his heart rattling away in his chest in anticipation. He didn’t know why he was hurrying towards what would be a battleground, but he had been walking for so long and the moment was so near. He came onto overgrown ground, this place forgotten by its owners unlike the fields which surrounded the area. Long ago the ground encircling the building had been trod down and cleared away, but now nature was reclaiming it and setting up its green flags of conquest, wild grass and flowers reached up from the dry ground and vines overtook the fence and broadsides of the building. The windows had been shattered at some point and not replaced, and the building’s wood was swollen and molded over.

Aelius looked to Ciaran as he stopped, his boots crunching in dry dirt, only softened by the wildflowers he crushed beneath his sole. His ethereal gaze trailed over his ally, his worry and anxiety apparent in his otherwise passive iamge. Knowing him long enough, Ciarán was able to denote the subtle changes in his seemingly inflexible mood; this was one of those times. He faced the building again and reached under his cloak for his conduit. The disk, the size of his palm, was held between his fingers and thumb, the violet well catching what sunlight there was.

“If she’s here, I don’t think she’s noticed us yet,” he said to the Aukari hushedly. Looking to her, he continued, “Do you have an idea of what we should do?”

For once, the scholarly young man’s mind was relatively blank on how to proceed. This sense of heightened emotion, the creeping sensation of guilt, was a frazzle to the man’s inner workings. Now, he leaned on the fiery intuition of his Aukari partner to reignite the dwindling flame within him.
Special thanks to Ciaran
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Griffin
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[Krom] The Closest Hurt the Most

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Aelius
Skills:
Investigation: 1
Tactics: 1
Detection: 1

Basic Knowledge:

Location: Krome
Krome: Friendly folk
Ciaran: Aukari
Pene: Trying to abandon the Seekers
Pene: Must be aprehended

Specialised Knowledge:

Seekers: A final Arc to complete your test
Pene: A potential threat
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